Look out for Elon Musk YouTube scam ads

Hi guys! Like most people, I watch something on YouTube daily. Cybercriminals know about our addiction to YouTube and have now resorted to paying for convincing scam ads to run before or around videos that match our interests. The latest ones feature a video of Elon Musk and claims that he is launching his own cryptocurrency, $SpaceX,” in a bid to purportedly “take everyone to Mars and make human life possible there.” To sweeten the pot, the ads then note that for each transaction involving the $SpaceX coin, a donation will be made “toward space-research companies” in order to “help Elon’s mission.”


So far YouTube watchers have been swindled out of almost $1 million (and counting), mostly due to the convincing nature of the ads and the interests of the people they are targeting. The scam videos show up before and after videos about cryptocurrency, featuring fake tweets and interviews of Elon Musk taken out of context. They direct victims to websites with instructions on how to “purchase” the “currency” using suspect domain names such as “buyspacex.com,” “missionspx.com” and “muskspx.com,” among many others. Fun fact, at time of writing, these sites are still operational so beware, the scam is still in play. 

Based on the success of this current campaign, expect to see more ads on YouTube featuring too-good-to-be-true offers from scammers hyper-targeting people like you and me based on our interests.

Be vigilant and stay safe out there,

-A